“Hey, Harry, wake up,” someone called, gently shaking his shoulder.
Harry slowly opened his eyes, blinking at the whiteness surrounding him. His head felt fuzzy, and his body was numb. He was lying on something fluffy; a cloud, perhaps? Was this heaven? Had he succeeded?
“How are you feeling?“ a voice softly asked. The person leaned over him, pale face and silver hair shimmering in the moonlight.
“Are you an angel?” Harry muttered. “Am I dead?“
The voice chuckled quietly. “An angel, huh? Not quite, Potter. And no, you're not dead, though not for lack of trying.”
“Wait... Malfoy…?” Harry was puzzled. How had Malfoy, of all people, found him here? And when? It was awfully bright out for night time, but it surely couldn't be morning yet, could it?
“Yes, that is my name.”
“But how?” Harry, somewhat more cognizant now, tried to sit up. “Ugh!” A sudden dizziness had come over him; he tightly clutched his pounding head.
“Here, drink this, it'll help.” Malfoy thrust a vial of red liquid at him.
“What is it. ..? Aahh…” A wave of nausea flew through him. He could barely think straight again. The vial shook in his hand.
“Just drink it, you git.” Malfoy grabbed his hand, lacing the other around Harry's back, steadying him while he gulped down the warm liquid.
The effect was nearly instantaneous. As Harry’s vision cleared, and the headache and nausea vanished, he could finally take in his surroundings. He was next to the lake, sitting in snow that glittered like glass, a nearly full moon high in the sky. He could see everything clear as day in the light from it.
Remembering why he'd been by the lake, Harry turned his wrists over. They each had a long, thin scar, both mostly faded. “How?” he whispered.
“I saved you,” Malfoy replied, voice flat. “I was taking a stroll, when I smelled quite a bit of blood. I followed the scent, and found you floating in the lake, so I pulled you out.”
“You saw me? But it was pitch black out... “ Harry mused. Something was definitely strange with this entire situation. It was beginning to annoy him quite a bit, especially as another thought occurred to him: “Why would you even want to save me, anyway? You hate me!”
“Hate is a bit too strong a word, Potter. Hate is what the Dark Lord and that pink bitch deserve. You're more like a rival, or at least you were, before you returned this year with major anger issues.”
“What? I don't have anger issues!” Harry raged, jumping to his feet. “If you're referring to earlier, you were totally asking for it, insulting our families like that! And now I'm even banned from quidditch over it!” Harry growled, fists clenched and fangs bared.
Wait, fangs? Harry froze, all anger vanishing, mind blanking as he tried to process things, a strange, seemingly impossible, suspicion crossing his mind. How bright it was, despite it clearly being night, if the moon and stars were any indication; the deep gashes in his arms already healed; feeling comfortable despite lying in snow; the red liquid that make him feel so much better… “Malfoy… how exactly did you heal me...?”
“Ah, so you finally figured it out, huh, Potter? Took you long enough.”
“Malfoy! Answer me!”
“I think you know the answer already.” Malfoy sneered, mouth wide as he showed off a pair of fangs, eyes slightly glowing as his pupils narrowed to thin predatorial slits.
At this, Harry visibly began to panic, frantically looking around before making a dash towards the forest. Malfoy, anticipating this, merely leapt forwards with an inhuman grace and tightly grasped Harry's wrist.
“Let me go, Malfoy!”
“So you can what, run off to who knows where and try to off yourself again? ...although, it's not like you can do it now, anyway,” he chuckled.
“This isn't funny!”
“Hmph. Fine. Now, sit down; I'll answer your questions. Go on, ask away,” Malfoy replied, voice flat once again, as he sat in the snow, Harry following.
Harry was quiet for a few moments, counting in his head in an attempt to calm down. “Alright…” he began. “So, you’re a vampire, correct? And now I am too?”
“Oh good, you actually read your first year defense textbook,” Malfoy drawled. “Yes, I am quite clearly a vampire, and now so are you.”
“But how? When? You seemed perfectly normal a few hours ago! It was a few hours ago right?”
“Yes, it's only been a few hours since quidditch. As to my appearance… well, it's a wonder what a few well-placed glamours can do. I was turned at the start of the summer, punishment for my father ‘abandoning’ the Dark Lord, regardless of the fact everyone thought him dead.”
Harry ignored the part about Voldemort; he was highly curious of course, but there was something more important he needed to know. “Why did you turn me? I know you said you don't hate me, so pulled me out, but why did you turn me rather than go to the hospital wing?”
“I thought that would be obvious, Potter.”
“Your wrists were slashed and lungs filled with water. You had barely enough blood for me to even safely take a small bite; it's a miracle you were still alive. Clearly you had some fight left in you after all, despite your claims otherwise… Right, so the hospital wing was too far. I have no medical training beyond some basic first aid spells. The only way to save you was to turn you.”
“...Right, ‘save’ me. Okay. Next question I guess. .. you said you use glamours to hide?”
“But the glamours aren't on now, right? So why aren't you pale? Well, paler than usual. And I'm not either.”
Malfoy chuckled. “That, my friend, is one of the many misconceptions about vampires.”
“We're not friends!” Harry spat.
“Touchy, touchy. It's just an expression. Although, I suppose we probably will need to at least tolerate each other now, being the only two vampires at school.”
“Yeah, whatever. What are the other misconceptions?”
“Well, firstly, aging is one. Whereas it will stop, it doesn't stop right away, rather gradually slows down over a few years before stopping completely. So you and I hopefully won't be stuck as teens forever.”
“It varies, anywhere from one to five years generally, though the younger you are the higher it usually is; we should be fine.”
“Okay… so what else should I know?”
“Well, sunlight isn't as dangerous as the books portray. Just burns right away rather than tans, and makes you feel kinda tired and warm. Which, might I add, also happens to many pale-skinned humans when in the sun anyway. Another thing the book gets wrong is eating. We do only require blood to survive, but that doesn't mean we can't still eat and drink human food; we just don't get hungry for it, and it all tastes pretty bland despite being able to smell it much better. That's why they think garlic is toxic to us by the way; it's not, but it just smells so horribly potent, so we prefer to stay away. No nutrition is derived from food and drink-- rather, we just excrete it all. Well, except for things that get absorbed by blood, like alcohol. That affects us. Er, not that I've tried it or anything… oh, don't look at me like that, Potter. Fine, I have, happy? Let's see, what else… oh, the feeling cold to the touch thing. That only happens when we're low on blood; which, consequently, is the only time most humans interact with vampires, so it's easy to see how that misconception arose. That should be it. ..everything else is what you already know.”
“Everything else? So we can be easily killed by wood stakes and silver? And change people with a mere bite? But wait, why am I still breathing and have a heartbeat?”
“...I'm starting to think you didn't actually read the textbook, did you?”
Malfoy scoffed. “Go read the book. Tomorrow after potions we'll talk to Snape about the situation.”
“What? Why him??”
“He brews the blood potion for me, and now for you. It's a substitute for blood, keeps the hunger at bay. It's what I gave you before. He's the only one at school who knows about me by the way; do try to keep it that way. I'd recommend doing the same. People don't tend to react well to vampires attending school with their kids. Not even Dumbledore knows. I'd recommend not telling him either; Merlin knows what he'll do if he learns that his ‘golden boy’ is now a bloodsucker.”
Now it was Harry's turn to scoff. “Fine with me. Pretty sure Dumbledore hates me now anyway. Don't ask what I did; I have no clue.”
The two headed back to the castle in relative silence. Before going their separate ways, they paused for Malfoy to refresh Harry on the glamour charm to hide “flaws”. They learned it in second year, but of course Harry had forgotten all about it. “And you might want to hide those scars on your wrists, too,” Malfoy said dismissively, as he walked off towards the dungeons.
Harry collapsed on his four-poster bed, fully expecting to fall right asleep. That was such a trying night he had had, after all! However, he simply couldn't fall asleep… ‘Oh, right, vampires don't do that,’ he remembered, turning onto his side, quietly studying the thin scars on his wrists. Hard to believe they were only from a few hours prior… Harry licked his lips, tongue sliding languidly over his sharp fangs.
Suddenly, the full weight of the situation struck him. “Holy fuck, I'm a vampire!” he loudly proclaimed, forgetting the hour, sitting straight up.
Someone stirred the next bed over. “Hey, you okay?” the person mumbled sleepily.
“Yeah, just another nightmare, Ron, I'll be fine,” Harry easily lied, getting a snore in response. When had lying become so easy, so natural?
“Okay, Harry, calm down, you can handle this,” he muttered quietly to himself. He closed the curtains, habitually casting a silencing charm, as he did every night. Not that he'd need it now… “Oh. Hmm. Guess there is a slight upside to this vampire thing after all; no more nightmares.”
“Mrrrrow!” came the loud reply.
“Whoa!” Harry leapt six feet in the air, quite literally, ending up sitting on one of the bedposts. Wait, sitting on a bedpost..? Holy crap, he had just jumped onto the bedpost.
“Mrow!” Crookshanks said again, jumping onto the bed.
Harry carefully climbed back down. “Well, this is a rarity. I thought you didn't like me much?” he asked the cat-- or, rather, half-kneazle, but cat was easier to say.
“Mew?” The cat tilted his head, as if to say “Why would you think that?” He leapt off the bed, diving into Harry's trunk, and began pushing things out.
“Hey, what the hell are you doing?!” Harry exclaimed, rushing over to pull Crookshanks away. When he did, the cat had a book in his mouth. His defense against the dark arts book, in fact.
“How did you… nevermind,” Harry sighed, taking the book from the cat. Might as well read about what he apparently is now, since he can't sleep anyway. Or maybe it was a dream, and he'd wake up in the morning, happily human… he brought his hand to his mouth, and gently bit down. “Ouch! Okay, not a dream,” he proclaimed, rubbing his hand, only to realize the wound was already healed, the only indication of it being a tiny drop of blood.
With that, Harry leaned against the headboard, letting the book fall open on his lap and turning to the page on vampires…
“There's surprisingly little in here on them, compared to other creatures,” Harry muttered to Crookshanks, who was curled up next to him, sound asleep.
What was in there, other than the misinformation Malfoy had debunked, was much different from the muggle perceptions on them. In fact, there was even a whole page dedicated to correcting the muggle beliefs! The things about stakes and silver and whatever else they deemed to be instant death to vampires was all utter baloney. Same for them being invincible; vampires, though extremely quick healers, generally could succumb to most things that would normally kill a wizard, with the exception of non-magical and non-blood diseases. You just had to do a really thorough job of it, because they could heal from most wounds, even seemingly fatal ones, given time and access to enough blood. According to the book, the best thing to do was destroy the heart, because without it the blood cannot flow, rendering healing impossible, and once all the blood flows out, that's it. A vampire who runs out of blood is a dead vampire. Drinking blood was an absolute necessity, since a vampire cannot produce their own blood and their body consumes it for energy; if a vampire doesn't drink, they die once all their blood is used up.
As to the pulse, they did always have one, but, similar to their temperature, it was proportional to how much blood was in them and how fresh it was. If they were very low on blood, it could be nearly impossible for a human to feel without a stethoscope, which is why the muggles thought they didn't have one. As to breathing, it actually wasn't necessary, but most vampires did it by habit since they had been so used to it as a human, plus it was necessary to talk. If a vampire needed to be silent though, there was no need for breath. Huh. No wonder it was so easy for vampires like Malfoy… and himself... to hide amongst humans.
There were good points too, of course. Vampires were physically powerful-- at full strength, some had been known to leap onto roofs from the ground with ease. Well, that explained the bedpost. Excellent night vision, too, via the same type of eye mechanic cats have. Seemed that was the only enhancement to eyes though; he would still need his glasses to properly focus. Hearing and smell were also enhanced, but very attuned to blood. If someone was bleeding, and a vampire was getting hungry, all but the blood would be tuned out. Hmm. Was that why Harry seemed to be faintly hearing the heartbeats of his roommates? Ah, but there were some tradeoffs for those enhancements. Taste for everything but blood becomes dulled, yes, that's what Malfoy had told him too… did this mean he couldn't enjoy treacle tarts anymore? And what about butterbeer?
Harry kept reading. Vampires were immune to some magic, but not all. The extent of which spells were effective and which were not was not fully known, but the killing curse definitely didn't work. Well, that was good to know, seeing that that seemed to be Voldemort’s favorite curse, next to the cruciatus curse. Speaking of which, that had a reduced effect on vampires, since vampires had much higher pain thresholds than humans, at least when it came to physical pain. They were generally immune to temperature, too; that was good to know, seeing as he would have to wear long sleeves in the summer when it was sunny. Or did he? Would sunscreen or spells work? He'd have to ask Malfoy.
Speaking of sun, it seemed morning was here already, as it was peeking through the window. Harry sighed as his roommates began to stir. Time to see what anguishes today had in store...